- Noticeable change in odour, colour, and frequency of urine (no urine or very less quantities)
- Irritation or uneasiness while passing of urine
- Experiencing pain in the genital area or lower abdomen area
- Fever or extreme fatigue in some cases
Potential causes for causing urinary problems are:
- Bladder infections – observed more in girls, than in boys
- Dehydration – results in very dark, pungent, foul-smelling urine
- Germs that live in the large intestine and are in stool can get in the urethra, causing infections
- Vesicoureteral reflux – occurs when the ureter does not grow long enough during development in the womb. The valve formed by the ureter does not close properly, so urine flows back as refluxes from the bladder to the ureter and eventually to the kidney
- Ureteropelvic junction obstruction – under this condition, the kidney swells up because the urine gets blocked where the ureter joins the kidney
- Bladder outlet obstruction – which is any blockage in the urethra or at the opening of the bladder. This defect may cause swelling in the entire urinary tract, including the urethra, bladder, ureter, and kidneys.
Apart from these common causes, sometime urinary tract infections or UTIs are caused due to genital defects, such as:
- Prune belly syndrome – causes enlargement of the abdomen and urinary tract, and bars the descent of the testicles from the body to the scrotum. The skin over the abdomen is wrinkled, giving the appearance of a prune.
- Oesophageal atresia – a birth defect in which the oesophagus is incomplete. It is observed that babies suffering from this defect are more expected to face problems in their urinary tracts.
Diagnosis of birth defects can be done after delivery or even during pregnancy (through prenatal screening). Prenatal screening uses ultrasound which throws up images of the baby’s excretory organs. The process of amniocentesis, where amniotic fluid from the amniotic sac inside the mother’s body is extracted to test genetic material, can also be used. Please note that using amniocentesis for determining the sex of an unborn child is illegal and is a punishable offence.
Sometimes the symptoms can be random, co-incidental, and caused by changes in the type or content of food given to the baby. To combat the issue, start with helping her flush things out of the system by administering lots of fluids to the baby. Antibiotics for fighting UTI should also be given as per prescriptions.
But if the condition seems to be lasting more than a few days, a doctor must be seen. Sometime urinary infections can become worse if kept unchecked, and can cause a serious infection called sepsis.
In the case of a ureter or urethra blockage, a foetal surgeon may recommend surgery to insert a shunt or correct the problem causing the blockage. Intermittent catheterisation may be used for a child with urinary retention due to a nerve related disease.